Photography as an art form

Arguments against photography being an art form date back more than a century. Their central theme was that the camera records reality in a purely mechanical way, without human imagination, and therefore cannot be art. But early photographers often looked to acknowledged, traditional art forms, typically the paintings of old masters, for inspiration and guidance in creating their images.


Many photographs have now been recognized as having high artistic value, with the camera considered to be a tool like a painter’s brush, and artistic merit attributed to such human-controlled factors as composition, lighting decisions, exposure times, framing, the intelligent use of color, ingenuity and creativity.

Not all images captured by a camera are considered to have artistic value, by any means. Indeed, most do not. Consider the typical snapshot taken by an untrained amateur photographer who does little more than to aim a camera towards a subject and trip the shutter release button, with no consideration for the elements of design. Any artistic merit such a snapshot might have would likely be due more to luck than skill.


The person who makes an intelligent effort to combine artistry with his or her photography will generally produce a better photograph. Adhering to the rules of composition, for example, will more often than not result in a balanced, pleasing image. When such a person takes steps to learn and apply what is needed to make a photograph with high artistic value, his or her images will improve.

The more you adjust your photographic technique with a view to producing images with artistic merit, the closer you are likely to get to elevating your photography to the level of art.


Even though you may not achieve recognition for producing photographs considered to be fine art masterpieces, there is no doubt that your picture-taking will improve and will be acknowledged by people who view them as “good” photographs, well-taken and pleasing to look at.


Click on the links below to learn what you can do to get started along the path that will lead to providing more artistic attributes to your photography.

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